Official Tourism Website for Hampshire
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Escape to the South Downs and become revitalised in this peaceful and relaxing part of Hampshire.
The western tip of the South Downs can be found in the heart of Winchester at the magnificent 11th century cathedral. Just one mile from the city centre the South Downs comes into its own with the beautiful countryside of St Catherine's Hill.
The market towns of Petersfield and Alton are also ideal starting points to explore the South Downs, in the East of Hampshire, as they full of interest and are dotted with comfortable hotels, B&B’s and self catering cottages.
Queen Elizabeth Country Park near Petersfield is home to the highest point of the national park, Butser Hill. At 270 metres high there are stunning views of the surrounding hills, valleys and farmland. With designated picnic and barbeque areas, walks, café and gift shop, it is a great way to spend the day.
Walk, cycle or ride on horseback along the 101 mile South Downs Way and enjoy the wonderful, rolling countryside, described by Bill Bryson as 'some of England's finest'.
A unique feature of this landscape is the hanging woods or hangers. You can walk the Hangers Way, a 21 mile path from Alton to Queen Elizabeth Country Park through Selborne, Steep and Petersfield.
Elevated upon the South Downs, with fine panoramic views to the sea is the historic house of Uppark. Stansted Park is also worth a visit.
Other places of interest are the villages of Selborne, where you can visit Gilbert White's House and the Oates Collection, East Meon, the source of the River Meon and Buriton, home of Edward Gibbon.
Food & Drink
The local pubs, restaurants and tea rooms provide a warm welcome to visitors and here you’ll find locally-brewed beers, scrumptious cakes and home-cooked meals, as well as many farm shops and specialist food shops.
At Rother Valley Organics, near Petersfield, there’s a tempting choice of organic beef, duck, goose, lamb or venison while the Triple FFF traditional brewery near Alton produces award-winning ales with names such as Pressed Rat & Warthog and Alton’s Pride.
Petersfield and Alton have regular weekly markets for fresh vegetables, fruit and local produce and there are also farmers’ markets in both towns throughout the year.
At Gilbert White’s house at Selborne you’ll find an elegant, award-winning tea parlour where you can try speciality teas and home-made cakes.
The café at the Queen Elizabeth Country Park also sells home-made cakes, biscuits and soups along with many local products.
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